1/15/2013 05:37:00 PM

First Look: The Dead Rabbit Rises in the Financial District This Week

Courtesy of The Dead Rabbit
Dead rabbit. The words might evoke an unpleasant mental image, but the upcoming bar of the same name in the Financial District could turn things around. Later this week the 19th-century-Irish-influenced concept plans to open (after post-Sandy delays, they're just waiting for gas), and will serve craft beer, bottled punch and Irish whiskey on its first floor, and cocktails and punch on the second.

The name refers to a local street gang from the 1850s, and the bar does its best to match that era. Co-owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry (formerly of Belfast's much lauded The Merchant Hotel) researched drinks for months, resulting in slightly modernized versions of 72 historically accurate selections.  Evidence of their research can be found via the handsome menu (presented as a bound book) that contains descriptions of each drink and its origins, illustrations from the period and an essay from author Peter Quinn.

If your date is running 15 minutes late - have no fear. Grab the menu, find a seat and, after a few pages, you might not mind as much if he/she doesn't show up. Alternatively, if you don't have much of an attention span, an insert offers highlights from the list, as well as wine, beer and food options. Ranging from $8.50-$16, dishes include Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, welsh rabbit, assorted pastries and more. For the full menus, click here.

For those who prefer beer and straight spirits, the downstairs taproom will serve as a welcome environment to knock back a couple (or five). There you'll find craft beers, what they're touting as the largest selection of Irish whiskeys in NYC and "pop-ins," aka lightly hopped beer mixed with amari or fruit liqueurs. Punch will also be available, but as opposed to what's on offer upstairs, these will be pre-bottled and served by the glass or flagon.

To create the appropriate feel for the stylish, historic space (the building dates from 1828), glassware was deliberately sought out from private collections, along with satirical cartoons, portraits and paintings. One of the key standouts is a large-scale mural on the first floor, depicting soldiers drinking Jameson prior to a Civil War battle. There may not be the equivalent courageousness needed on a daily basis here in NYC, but that certainly won't keep us from drinking just the same.

30 Water St.; 646-422-7906

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